Eyes in the Heavens: Satellite Technologies in Remote Site Monitoring

by Zhangwei Ning, Ph.D., (M.ASCE), Regional Technical Manager, Instrumentation and Monitoring Specialist; Sixense, Inc., Seattle, WA, zhangwei.ning@sixense-group.com,
Guillaume Hochard, Ph.D., Former Satellite Data Lead Engineer; Sixense Soldata, Paris, hochard@gmail.com,

Serial Information: Geo-Strata —Geo Institute of ASCE, 2017, Vol. 21, Issue 6, Pg. 50-55

Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: Installation and maintenance of instrumentation to monitor geotechnical projects in remote locales is usually more challenging than sites in urban areas for both technical and logistical reasons. In most of the recent remote sites the authors have participated in, satellite-based technologies are playing essential, but different roles. This article introduces the roles of three different types of satellites: communication satellites, global navigation satellite system satellites, and Earth observation satellites. Coincidentally, these three satellites operate in three distinct Earth orbits. They include: the geostationary orbit at a distance of 35,786 km from Earth's surface; the medium Earth orbit at a distance of 2,000 to 35,786 km from Earth's surface; and the low Earth orbit at a distance of 160 to 2,000 km from Earth's surface. The satellites use signals in different frequencies, covering a wide range microwave spectrum from the low frequency L-band (1 to 2 GHz) to the high frequency Ka-band (26.5 to 40 GHz).

Subject Headings: Satellites | Orbits | Maintenance | Instrumentation | Geotechnical engineering | Urban areas | Navigation (geomatic) | Communication systems


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